Mets starting P Oliver Perez — 7 runs, 9 hits and 3 walks in 4.1 IP during yesterday’s 8-1 loss to Washington — has charitably been labeled “enigmatic” in this space.  There’s no mincing words, however, from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who cannot reconcile the lefty’s $36 contract and 9.31 ERA, saying of Perez, “he does not have an impressive pitching IQ. He has little craft. He generally has no clue where the ball is going once it leaves his hand.”

The Mets re-invested in Perez in the offseason under the belief that Dan Warthen, who became the pitching coach last June, had — in the words of Manuel — “unlocked [Perez] and he became pretty consistent.”

But there was a time when the Mets thought the same of Rick Peterson, who was replaced by Warthen. There is no unlocking Perez. There is just conning yourself that you have.

The rotation is Johan Santana and the Pips, and the most infuriating Pip is Perez. Manuel was so mad after an 8-1 loss that he said he wanted a night’s sleep before the next move, which could be anything from subtle (taking advantage of a Thursday off day to skip Perez’s next turn) to drastic (putting him in the pen) to nuclear (using the option Perez has left to send him to the minors).

“I have to figure out how long [to be patient] and what is patience,” Manuel said about a starter who certainly is testing the Met hierarchy’s tolerance.

Perez was most responsible for giving an atrocious team life, for preventing the Mets from sweeping the Washington Generals, uh, Nationals. He is the biggest worry, because the Pips are the largest concern the Mets have right now, and Perez is the most disturbing Pip.